What Happens When the Cameras and Attention Goes Away

“I knew something was wrong when I saw a pretty little white girl jump into a black man’s arms.”

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

“Hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your husbands, cause they raping everybody out here.”

In the last couple of years these phrases have spread across the vast corners of the internet and into Hall-of-Fame of memes. They’re the words Charles Ramsey, Sweet Brown and Antoine Dodson.

Photo by Lucian Perkins of the Washington Post

It’s worth noting that these weren’t just random people who happened to be standing around when they interviewed by an unsuspecting news team. They were all heroes to some degree. It can be easy to forget that once the auto-tune videos and memes began rolling out like rabid mice out of a cage.

Antoine Dodson had rescued his sister from an intruder. Sweet Brown rescued herself from a fire. And in the case of Charles Ramsey, he solved a mystery that had stumped the Cleveland police for more than a decade when he rescued three women who had been held captive in his neighbor’s home.

With each of these cases, all three heroes may not have been the most eloquent on camera, but come to think of it, should it have mattered? I’m not sure how I would feel if I made one slip-up in front of a camera and then people are selling my t-shirts with my face on it. While Dodson, Ramsey and Brown did gain quite a bit of notoriety for their 15 minutes of fame, I’m curious if their lives are substantially different a few years from now — long after the fame, attention and appearance fees are gone.

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